Dr Lannie O’Keefe left school at 15, but returned to study at VU as a mature-age student – and single mum to six children. With the University’s support, she’s since completed three degrees, including a PhD, and begun an academic career.
"My goal in returning to study was to be an example for my children and change the future for my family. I was born, raised and live in Melbourne’s west so VU felt like the right choice.
The University was accepting, flexible, listened to me and had empathy for my needs. I was offered social and financial support and even counselling sessions to help address initial self-doubts about returning to study.
I ended up loving my time at VU so much that I continued from my bachelor degree, through to a clinical Masters and Doctorate! I never dreamed for a moment that reaching such academic heights was achievable for someone like me.
After completing my Doctorate, I worked in the Department of Health. Although it was wonderful, I longed to get back into research and teaching and was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to teach first years at VU.
My children now go to university themselves, they have careers and adore learning. I’m so glad I was able to inspire them by incorporating my study into their childhood."